Nick Catone pulls out of April 18 fight, then retires

Nick Catone (R) punches Mark Munoz during their Aug. 29, 2009 bout in Portland. 

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

New Jersey native Nick Catone was set to fight Vitor Miranda on April 18 in Newark, NJ. Unfortunately, the middleweight was forced out with back injuries.

Those same nagging and serious injuries have now compelled "The Jersey Devil" to retire from MMA competition altogether. A replacement opponent for Miranda is expected to be announced soon.

In addition to his back injuries, the 32-year-old has also suffered from ACL, Achilles, and tendon injuries. Though the decision to walk away was a difficult one for Catone, he said he had to listen to his body and stay as healthy as he can for his growing family.

"I think my body’s trying to tell me something, but it’s a hard decision. I’ve been competing since I’m seven years old, and I’m having a tough time with it," he told Thomas Gerbasi.

"I’ve got the little one at home, I have another one on the way, and I want to be able to have a life down the road and not be all banged up because I stayed in a little too long."

Catone will stay active in MMA, even as he ends his days as an active competitor. From now on, it’s all about developing others as a coach and father. 

"The gym and the family are my main focus now," he said.

Catone retires with a 10-4 professional record. He last fought and won in Feb. 2014, earning a decision over Tom Watson at UFC 169. 

"Being in the UFC has changed my life," he ended.

"Being in the best organization, fighting the best guys in the world, nobody can ever take that away. It was something I dreamed of making it to. I made it there, and unfortunately, I was dreading that this day would have to come, and it came a little sooner than I thought it would. I was hoping to get a couple more in, but it didn’t play out that way."

Not many fighters get to go out on a win, after finding a great deal of success at the top of their sport, but Catone has. We wish him all the best in retirement.